There are so many Instagram classrooms now! I learn from these kids all the time. If you're thinking of starting an Instagram profile for your elementary classroom, I say, "Jump in!" Follow some other classes and read their posts. Talk to the parents of your students to be sure it's okay for you to post photos. We have a school-wide permission form that I'll share another time. We have been Instagramming for three weeks now and I need to share my experiences, some mistakes and our new rules.
I sent out a note to parents of my students asking for donations of old mobile devices. I had one family give us an old android device that became our Instagram device. I made a calendar with a student name marked on each day and hung it on our white board. The device is stored and charged each night on my classroom computer and the Instagrammer of the Day is responsible to grab it in the morning. That person takes up to 10 pictures throughout the day, at Specialists, during Daily 5 Stations, Science and Math rotations, or any time learning is taking place.
When we began, I had students just post photos of what was going on in our classrooms. We talked about photo composition, how to edit photos and the technical part of just posting the picture to the world on Instagram. Then we learned about hashtags: what's okay to use and what should be skipped. We looked at some of my mentor Instagramming classrooms' posts. I wrote one hashtag, our school, on the board for students to include and now require that they add a hashtag or two of their own. That's been going just fine.
One of my students didn't like a post by one of my mentors (@hellojenjones) and commented that it was "dumb"....ON HER POST...WITH MY NAME ON THE ACCOUNT! I didn't catch it until the end of the day and I was furious! I did not want my first interaction with this incredible teacher to be like this. I deleted his post and sent her a direct message with my apologies. Arrrrgh! It was my mistake that I hadn't told them about positive comments. It was my fault that I hadn't checked it throughout the day. We had a discussion and determined that for now I would be the only one commenting on others' posts. That solved that mistake.
This week, the third week of Instagramming, I started requiring that students write an informative, reflective sentence. We discussed what's appropriate in their sentence and what to omit. I love our Instagrammer of the Day postings. Tell me about your mistakes and experiences. I look forward to hearing from you!